High-Level Conference to Promote Agribusiness and Agro-industries in Africa
A high-level conference to promote agribusiness and agro-industries in Africa (HLCD-3A) will be hosted by the Nigerian government from March 8-10, 2010, “to consider and endorse” commitments to enhance the role of agribusiness and agro-industries in promoting food security, employment generation and sustainable growth on the continent.
Nigeria’s Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan, will deliver a speech at the event on 10 March 2010. The conference will bring together African heads of state and government, ministers and senior policy-makers, as well as senior representatives of financial institutions, including the African Union Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping; the ECA Executive Secretary, Abdoulie Janneh; the AfDB Sector Operations Vice President, Kamal Elkheshen; the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Kanayo F. Nwanze; the Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization, Modibo Traore; and the UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella. The event will bring together government officials from some 40 African countries, as well as senior policy-makers and representatives of financial institutions.
Meanwhile, the AfDB had, from January 21-22, 2010, in Tunis, hosted a joint organizing committee for the preparation of Abuja meeting. The Tunis meeting focused on financial modalities and issues relating to the high-level conference organization, including logistics, administrative and technical issues.
Asked about what Africans should expect from the conference, UNIDO Agri-business Development Director, Sergio Miranda-da-Cruz, said expectations were high. “Agribusiness and agro-industries can create wealth, new jobs on the continent and shrink poverty; agricultural advancement can also help producers and companies go beyond local markets and secure a niche in the globalized world, and sustainable growth,” he explained, adding that “It is time now for Africa to generate growth, become competitive, and take charge of its own future… Agriculture is one of the ways through which ordinary Africans can put food on their tables and earn money.”
The conference is jointly organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, the African Union Commission, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Nigerian government.